Statewide recreational fishing surveys

Understanding the catch and effort and participation rate of recreational fishers is an important part of sustainably managing Queensland's fisheries.

Queensland’s fisheries resources are shared among recreational fishers, commercial fishers, charter operators and people practising traditional fishing. This statewide recreational fishing survey is part of Fisheries Queensland’s monitoring program which collects recreational fishing information.

The statewide recreational fishing survey series commenced in 1997 and provides recreational fishing catch and effort information necessary to safeguard marine resources for tomorrow.

2019–20 survey

The latest statewide recreational fishing survey started on 29 April 2019, and finished on 28 April 2020. This survey builds on the previous 2013–14 survey and is the eighth in the series.

The information recreational fishers provide is confidential and is aggregated and weighted to provide statewide and regional information about:

  • recreational fishing participation rates and the number of Queenslanders who go fishing
  • where and how Queenslanders go recreational fishing
  • which species, and how many of those species Queenslanders catch and release
  • fishing-related expenditure (to help us understand the economics of recreational fishing).

About the program

The 2019–20 statewide recreational fishing survey was conducted by the Social Research Centre (SRC), a subsidiary of the Australian National University. The SRC is a respected research organisation with recreational fishing survey experience.

The SRC contacted more than 8,500 households across Queensland via landline and mobile numbers between February and April 2019.

Recipients were asked if they fished recreationally in the last 12 months, and if they intended on fishing recreationally in the next 12 months. Households that intended to fish were invited to take part in the 12-month recreational fishing activity logbook phase.

More than 2,100 recreational fishing households took part in the 12-month recreational fishing activity logbook phase. During this phase, participating fishers recorded their fishing activity and expenditure shortly after they went fishing, either by a phone call from our interviewers, or logging the activity via the online survey portal.

Fisheries scientists are now using this information to estimate recreational fishing catch and effort across Queensland for all species. Full results are expected in the coming months.

Initial estimates

The initial phase of the survey provided estimates of the number of Queensland residents who go fishing in Queensland:

  • Almost 943,000 Queenslanders went recreational fishing in Queensland in 2019.
  • Recreational fishing’s popularity has increased amongst Queensland residents 5 years or older from 15% in 2013 to nearly 19% in 2019.
  • Most of Queensland’s regions had increasing participation rates, particularly the Gold Coast which increased from 8.8% in 2013 to 13.3% in 2019, a change of 51%.
  • The further north you go the more popular recreational fishing becomes. Mackay Hinterland (over 38%), Far North Hinterland (over 36%) and Northern Hinterland (nearly 34%) have the highest rates for fishing participation of any region of the state.
  • Queensland’s recreational fishers are becoming younger. The percentage of fishers aged less than 14 increased from 20.4% in 2013 to 23.4% in 2019 and those aged 45 years or more decreased from 32.1% in 2013 to 29.9% in 2019.

For more information on the data collection methods used by the Social Research Centre during the initial phase of the 2019–20 survey, refer to their Statewide recreational fishing survey 2019–20 screening survey – Technical report (July 2020) (PDF, 987.7KB).

2010–11 and 2013–14 surveys

For more information and detailed results for the 2010–11 and 2013–14 statewide recreational fishing surveys please click on the links below

Data is available from these surveys through QFish.

More information

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